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$10M grant to VCU to develop new cancer treatments

treatment due to the patient's breathing. Radiation is often given daily over a period of days or weeks, and the ability to adapt the treatment to a tumor's movement during the course of treatment can have a significant effect on the patient's outcome.

"Human anatomy is dynamic and constantly changing, and organs shift and deform differently during each daily treatment," explained Williamson. "We know that tumors have day-to-day motions, daily motions, and second-by-second motions. By acquiring data on these motions and developing 4-D models and predictions, we will be better-able to predict where a tumor will be a second from now rather than where it was a second ago as we deliver radiation."

One of the technologies being adopted for the project functions much like a Global Positioning System and will be implanted in tumors to provide real-time feedback to scientists. The information on tumor movement will be updated 10 times per second.

Clinical Studies

In about six months, researchers will begin accruing patients with lung, cervical or prostate cancer to participate in the IGART project. They expect to enroll about 25 patients from each cancer type for the first two years of study. Using state-of-the-art technologies that provide images to guide the delivery of radiation doses, researchers first will carefully examine the movement of tumors and then employ adaptation techniques based on the unique characteristics of those tumors.

"By updating the 4-D anatomy as patients are treated, we can adapt or modify the treatment daily, or, if necessary, on a second-to-second basis to accommodate anatomical and biological changes," Williamson said.

Patients involved in clinical studies receive a high level of care and communication from their treatment team, and are assured of receiving the current standard plus the new, potentially better, components being applied to their treatment.

Massey's radiation oncology program is the
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Contact: Andrea Butler
albutler@vcu.edu
804-628-2111
Virginia Commonwealth University
8-May-2007


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